Have you ever seen the Love’s diapers commercial where it shows how a mom treats her first baby with the uttermost concern, but then grabs scraps for her second baby? A non parent might interpret this as a lesser degree of love or care for a second (or third, or fourth, etc) child; but they would be wrong. As a parent of three boys, I can tell you that the degree of love and care does not change. [Pause for potty break] What does change, however, is your level of acceptance of what you can and cannot control.
I tried, for example, to keep Baby G (child #1) constantly sanitized. I had a pack of wipes (generic? absolutely not) in every diaper bag (yes, there was need for multiple diaper bags), in every car, bedroom, and bathroom. Oh, you spilled some juice on your shirt? Goodness, no – let’s change you! Let’s discuss the outcome: I changed his clothes too many times and wiped him too often – and he couldn’t care less. Baby G enjoyed an all too regular meal of grass, crayons, and play-dough. He preferred moments of nudity over cute outfits.
When it came time to potty train him, I bought the coolest looking potty chair and even a mini toilet seat for the grown up potty. I used training pants and a timer set to 15 minutes to keep our potty training on track. Outcome review: the potty chair became one of his favorite toys, after all, it was really cool looking. It was never peed or pooed into. Ever. [Pause for potty break] The mini toilet seat became nothing more than a hazardous donut for the grown ups and the training pants became a burden to my washer. Worst yet, the timer became a dreaded tool – I wasn’t achieving anything in those 15 minute spurts between often dry potty beaks. Baby G simply did not care about becoming a big boy when it came to the bathroom realm. I’ll admit that eventually, I kind of gave up. I figured I would still be changing diapers when he came home for spring break his sophomore year in college Whatever, right? There are worst fates in the world. Then, one day I realized I was changing dry diapers. I stopped putting diapers on him, and he started using the toilet. No potty chair, no training pants, no mini toilet dangerous apparatus. I didn’t actually do anything.
Since Baby D came so shortly after Baby G – and just seconds before the whole instant self-potty training occurred, I felt very at ease. In fact, I do not remember using wipes, I kept a diaper bag in the car but never carried it around with us, and when I thought it was time to potty train, I just let it be. I cannot tell you how old Baby D was when he stopped using diapers. Maybe 2? Maybe 1? No idea – he was such a piece of cake baby and I was such a laid back mamma.
So one would think that I would take my lessons learned and use them with Baby W. He is almost 2, and about 4.5 million diapers later (or so it feels like), I am ready to potty train him. Or rather, I forgot what potty training a boy of mine means. Let’s accredit this situation to the 7 year gap between having Baby D and Baby W. While there were certain things I was smart enough to remember (a little bit of grass never hurt anyone, and play-dough makes for interesting poops later), other aspects of baby rearing clearly escaped me. So I purchased a potty chair and a pack of training pants. If you look in my bathroom now you will find that the potty chair has become the holder for [Pause for potty break] all of Baby W’s bath toys (two dinosaurs, three fish, 4 cars and some character from a Super Mario chess board game, FYI). After going through the entire pack of training pants in less than one hour, I decided to let Baby W free roam [Pause for potty break]. This morning was an absolute success: he did not have any accidents (unless I find a hidden wet spot somewhere). Then after lunch we took a dive in the pool. It was so cold! When Baby W’s lips took on a slight blue hue, I decided it was time to call it quits. We came inside and I sat his bare butt in his high chair while I whipped us up a snack. He was wrapped in a blanket, still warming himself from the too cold pool water. Then, I thought I heard something: dripping water, a leaky faucet. Only it wasn’t. Baby W smiled as he was clearly feeling some warmth under that blanket. So gross. Frustrated I began wondering what I am doing wrong, what I need to do differently.
It required a bit of introspection to realize I am not doing anything wrong per say. Neither is Baby W. But some things I cannot control – and apparently – neither can he. I will keep running him to the potty anytime he asks – hence the pause for potty breaks – and I will keep washing blankets, training pants, high chair seat cover, etc until Baby W is ready. Then again, I might still be changing diapers when he’s home for spring break his sophomore year in college. It could always be worse…[Pause for potty break]…